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Cornell University

What You Should Know About Cryptocurrency Mining, Security, and University Policy

This article applies to: Security & Policy

With the rising value of cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, etc.) and its broad coverage in the media, there has been a rise in Cornell-owned computers being tapped, usually through phishing attacks, to process cryptocurrency.

What happens is that malicious software--malware--is introduced onto the victim's computer, and then the computer's power is used to compute endless complex math problems to obtain cryptocurrency. This highly disruptive process is called "mining" and causes the computer to slow down.

Protect yourself and the university. Keep your computer up to date on software patches, and watch out for phishing emails and suspicious websites or web ads. Get tips on what to do, or ask your department's IT support provider or the IT Security Office.

If you’re considering using a university computer to mine cryptocurrency for a reason that isn't part of university-sanctioned coursework or research projects, be aware that University Policy 5.1 prohibits this.

Questions about cryptocurrency mining? Contact the IT Security Office at


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